In a startling revelation the Jammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday stated that during past two years 83 drugs were found to be sub-standard and misbranded in the state and admitted that nexus between "doctors and private pharmaceutical companies in the State, has led to medicos prescribing medicines of a particular company with whom they have tacit- understanding".
The Health Minister, while replying to a query raised by the PDP MLC, Khursheed Alam, during Question Hour in the Upper House stated: " During 2015-16, 35 drugs were tested and found to be substandard, while during the same period 15 drugs were found to be misbranded/ or having labeling errors. In 2016-17, 14 drugs were found substandard, 19 as misbranded or having labeling errors." He said: "We are aware about the nexus between doctors and private pharmaceutical companies, forcing patients to purchase drugs prescribed by them other than the free drugs available in the government hospitals," Bhagat said, "Most cases are under investigation or some are sub-judice," he stated in his reply.
"Government has introduced the prescription audit through issue of carbonless (3 leaves) OPD slips which are under process of procurement and shall be introduced to each health facility to further strengthen the monitoring of prescription Audit," he said.
"Government has recently issued directions to all the doctors while prescribing medicines to the patients, that Prescription shall be written in legible capital letters. The signature, name and designation of the doctor shall be legibly and clearly written at the bottom of the prescription. The medicines are in the first place prescribed to the patients in the Health Care Institutions for their treatment, out of drugs available as part of government supplies in the respective health institutions. Such medicines shall be prescribed in generic form only under no case shall a molecule which is available under government supply in Health Institution (Under Free Drugs Policy) shall be prescribed to a patient for him/her to procure from market," the minister said.
"All head of the departments shall have prescription Audits conducted on routine basis and at least once in six months to guard against any action being taken and necessary disciplinary action shall be taken," he added.
"All heads of the departments shall ensure framing of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for treatment of the patients and circulate the same to respective health care institutions for promoting suitable and uniform treatment protocols," the minister said.